How Do You Make Individualized Connections To Your Students Via Online Learning? *

As students take a greater role in instruction through personalized learning, what’s the best way to connect with their instructors?

As parents become increasingly more involved in their children’s academic and social development, it is a struggle to maintain a balance between online and face-to-face learning activities, conversations, and interactions. Like the old saying goes, “When all of us are online, who is left to connect with?”

Both face-to-face and online learning have their pros and cons for each student. We know that the best learning is achieved with a heart-to-heart connection from teacher to student, and while online classes can enhance these moments by using a teacher-student forum, the instant gratification that comes from a conversation with a live person has long-term benefits on student performance.

Let’s examine a couple of such situations that exemplify why it’s so important to create a learning and social environment outside of a physical classroom setting.

The Breakfast Club

At the end of the first day of school at Toby Naughton Elementary, an informal idea was developed to connect the new students to their peers. The Breakfast Club served to give students a social outlet and facilitate conversation to build a connection with their peers during the first few days of school.

Meghan Murphy, Toby Naughton principal, states that “the Breakfast Club provides a terrific community-building opportunity where our teachers gather on a daily basis with students to talk about everything from start times to weather reports, from field trips to help with homework. Students love it and it’s an important part of this transition.”

While she says this is a good example of online classes connecting children from all backgrounds, it’s also a great lesson for parents. For instance, students notice the diversity of those in the same age-group. The sharing of experiences contributes to social cohesion as well as creating lasting personal bonds that will carry over beyond childhood.

The University Of Cincinnati

As a student educator, I love the idea of being able to teach across the country in multiple geographic locations while having the flexibility to be around for a variety of service projects. Also, my role involves more than a single class, student, or day. I spend so much time helping to make sure that the students feel important and that we are focusing on the learning, rather than merely what to do with their learning. So, I must know that the institution was set up to make my job as enjoyable as possible.

In fact, the University of Cincinnati, where I teach, is renowned for putting great focus on making sure that the academic work is successful while focusing more on the support and fun aspects of teaching and learning. Each class has a wide variety of experience levels, and the university sets up partnerships with the community to support students and make life a bit easier.

In the classroom, my job requires that I share rich lessons with each student about his or her intellectual and emotional well-being to ensure that they enjoy the process. I then take it a step further by initiating deep and thorough conversations with each student about their values, goals, and future goals.

In the home, the same support and love is very much necessary for successful parents, but also so that education can flourish. It can be difficult to keep tabs on your children’s classroom activity, what with the changes in schedules and start times, and the lack of contact between parents and teachers. With good support and attention, it is not only possible to have a conversation, but the success of each learning experience relies on it.

Creating a “brand” of home environment that makes both of these changes a breeze is the essential first step in ensuring a successful home learning environment.

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